Liverpool defender Kolo Toure has given a resounding vote of confidence to under-fire manager Brendan Rodgers, likening the Antrim man to Arsene Wenger and insisting the club have to stick by him.
The Ivory Coast international won the Premier League, two FA Cups and finished runner-up in the Champions League in seven years under the Frenchman Wenger Arsenal.
He sees similarities between his current and former boss and believes the 41-year-old will have a similar impact at Anfield given the time to work through his current difficult spell.
Owners Fenway Sports Group remain supportive of the man they appointed in the summer of 2012 and who took the club to second place in the league last season despite a disappointing start to the campaign.
They are currently 14th in the league, five points off the top four but only four from the relegation places, and have a must-win final group match at home to Basle to retain their interest in the Champions League, in the club’s first season back in five years.
Toure believes the owners have to continue to show that faith to get long-term rewards.
“Last season was unbelievable. This season has been more tough. We need to stick with him because he’s one of the best managers in the Premier League,” said the defender.
“He’s right up there. He’s young as a manager. This is the first time he has managed in the Champions League. He is learning. The Champions League is tough.
“We’ve seen it with teams like (Manchester) City, who have found it tough. You have to learn about it.
“You need time as a manager. I think he has done a great job for this club and we like him.
“He works so hard and gives 100%. I do see Wenger in him because he’s so intelligent. He knows how to speak to players and how to get the best out of them.
“He will prove that because we will come out of this hard time. When he arrived Liverpool were doing badly. He came in and brought the club a long way up. Maintaining it is more difficult. This season is a learning process but he will get there.”
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